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Johannesburg - Restaurant group Spur has denied allegations relating to a text message doing the rounds that a suspicious woman allegedly preying on young children on the West Rand asked a worker to throw a child over a wall for R2 000.
“There was no attempted kidnapping at Spur, nothing happened by us,” Spur senior partner John Fuller said on Tuesday.
“Nobody knows of it. If there was such an incident here by us, and such a woman, we would want to let the public know.”
Fuller said there were 20 or more Spur branches in the West Rand and all branches had closed-circuit television cameras set up.
“If there was any such incident we would have proof of it from the cameras.”
He said the SMS doing the rounds was something that had started last year with schools cautioning parents about a suspicious woman allegedly trying to snatch children in the area.
The first letter was sent out by a pre-school and then other schools did the same, said Fuller.
Trinityhouse school in Randpark Ridge had also sent out a letter cautioning parents about the woman, believed to be in her sixties.
Trinityhouse said there was no attempted kidnapping at the school.
“We are not at liberty to speak to the press,” the school said.
Magic Beings nursery school sent out a message on the website “The Blessed Barrenness” on Monday about the woman.
“Please be aware: we have heard reports from two prominent private schools in the area that there is a woman trying to snatch children. She has been seen in two private school parking lots, as well as Spur and Papachinos. She is around 60 years old, with red hair and lots of wrinkles.”
The message went on to say that she targeted children between the ages of five and seven.
“She is in a 4x4 and has someone else driving. She is suspected to be involved in child trafficking. Be aware and keep your eyes open.”
The SMS doing the rounds was similar but added: “She was also involved at some Spur, where she told the worker she would pay R2 000 to throw (a) child over the fence...”
Police spokesman Warrant Officer Daniel Mavimbela said he was not aware of any such woman or case. He referred further enquiries to Honeydew police spokeswoman Inspector Karen Jacobs. She could not be reached for comment.
She was quoted in The Star newspaper as saying police were following up on the allegations about the woman, but that no case had been opened. - Sapa